On February 2, at around 8:15pm, transwoman Deoni Jones, 22, was sitting at a bus stop at the intersection of East Capitol Street SE and Sycamore Road NE in our nation's capitol when another individual attacked her, stabbing her in the cheek.
A third person at the bus stop began to chase after the attacker as he ran away, but ceased doing so in order to render aid to the victim. Witnesses flagged down a Metro Transit cop who responded to the scene and found Ms. Jones unconscious. MPD Sixth District officers and DC Fire and EMS personnel also responded.
Ms. Jones was transported to Prince George's Hospital Center in critical condition. She died at 2:35 am on February 3. She was identified several days later by local trans-community members. The MPD had identified the victim only as "a man living as a woman". Media coverage emphasized the victim's natal sex over the fact that she had been murdered.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the transphobic language deployed by several media outlets last night and this morning. 'While we certainly agree that the general public needs to be aware of trans communities' losses and successes, it is imperative that members of the press refer to trans people in a way that respects each person's gender identity or expression.
--Jason Terry, District of Columbia Transgender Coalition
A person of interest was caught on camera:
In addition a reward of $25000 was offered by the police.
A vigil the following week drew a crowd of about 200.
It's tragedy that we stand here again on another day to commemorate and recognize the loss of another soul within our community. I cannot believe that we're standing out here because somebody did not recognize the humanity in this beautiful soul.
--Jeffrey Richardson, director of the Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs
Negative things happen when positive people do nothing. Somebody saw what happened. And let me tell you something: There's a difference between snitching and citizenship. Snitching is when you commit a crime with somebody, and then you tell on them so you can get off. Citizenship is when you protect and serve your community, and you fight for people like Deoni, who lived a good life, who helped people, who made people smile every day.
--Ronald Moten, Peaceaholics
Three nights later MPD officials announced that Gary Niles Montgomery, 55, had been arrested in connection with attack. The indicated that the suspect would be charged with second-degree murder while armed. Montgomery was held without bond. After two mental observations in March Montgomery was found competent to stand trial. In June the case was continued for a felony status conference.
That conference was on August 31. On that date Thomas Dybahl withdrew from acting as Montgomery's lawyer, to be replaced by Anthony Matthews. Judge Robert Morin noted that the case had been active for seven months and asked Assistant US District Attorney David Gorman if the government "wished to proceed in the case." Gorman told the judge that the government would continue its pursuit of a grand jury indictment against Montgomery so that the government could bring the case to trial. A follow-up status hearing will happen on October 12. Montgomery continues to be held without bond.
As a member of the trans community, I've got to wonder why in hell the grand jury is having a problem filing an indictment.